Coat of Arms
President Sauli Niinistö
»Finnish (89.33%), Swedish (5.34%)
»Government Parliamentary republic
»338,424 km2 (64th)
» Per capita -$40,485
» Per capita -$50,450
»Euro (€) (EUR)
Finland officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway (one of two non-European Union members the country borders) to the north and Russia (the other non-EU member) to the east; Estonia lies to the south across the Gulf of Finland.
In 2013, Finland’s population was around 5.5 million, with the majority living in its southern regions. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital Helsinki, local governments in 336 municipalities. Band an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces a third of the country’s GDP. Other large cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti, and Kuopio.
From the late 12th century until 1809, Finland was part of Sweden, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. It was then incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, until the Russian Revolution of 1917 prompted the Finnish Declaration of Independence.
Finland was rapidly industrialized after the Second World War, achieving GDP per capita levels equal to that of Japan or the UK in the beginning of the 1970s. Initially, most development was based on two broad groups of export-led industries, the “metal industry” (metalliteollisuus) and “forest industry” (metsäteollisuus). The “metal industry” includes shipbuilding, metalworking, the car industry, engineered products such as motors and electronics, and production of metals (steel, copper and chromium).
The world’s biggest cruise ships are built in Finnish shipyards. The “forest industry” (metsäteollisuus) includes forestry, timber, pulp and paper, and is a logical development based on Finland’s extensive forest resources (77% of the area is covered by forest, most of it in renewable use). In the pulp and paper industry, many of the largest companies are based in Finland (Ahlstrom, M-real, UPM). However, the Finnish economy has diversified, with expansion into fields such as electronics (e.g. Nokia), metrology (Vaisala), transport fuels (Neste Oil), chemicals (Kemira), engineering consulting (Pöyry) and information technology (e.g. Rovio, known for Angry Birds), and is no longer dominated by the two sectors of metal and forest industry.
Likewise, the structure has changed, with the service sector growing, with manufacturing reducing in importance; agriculture is only a minor part. Despite this, production for export is still more prominent than in Western Europe, thus making Finland more vulnerable to global economic trends.
Based on the Economist Intelligence Unit report released in September 2011, Finland has clinched the second place after the United States on Benchmarking IT Industry Competitiveness 2011 which scored on 6 key indicators: overall business environment, technology infrastructure, human capital, legal framework, public support for industry development, and research and development landscape.
Finland is ranked 7 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of 1.64122
Top 5 Products exported by Finland
- Refined Petroleum (10%),
- Kaolin Coated Paper (7.4%),
- Large Flat-Rolled Stainless Steel (4.2%),
- Uncoated Paper (2.5%),
- Sawn Wood (2.1%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Finland
Top 5 Products imported by Finland
- Crude Petroleum (12%),
- Refined Petroleum (5.0%),
- Cars (3.5%),
- Packaged Medicaments (2.6%),
- Computers (2.2%)
Top 5 Import origins of Finland
- Russia (16%),
- Germany (13%),
- Sweden (10%),
- China (8.3%),
In 2005, Finnish tourism grossed over €6.7 billion with a 5% increase from the previous year. Much of the sudden growth can be attributed to the globalisation and modernisation of the country as well as a rise in positive publicity and awareness. There are many attractions in Finland which attracted over 4 million visitors in 2005.
The Finnish landscape is covered with thick pine forests, rolling hills and complemented with a labyrinth of lakes and inlets. Much of Finland is pristine and virgin as it contains 37 national parks from the Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the high fells of Lapland. It is also an urbanised region with many cultural events and activities.
Commercial cruises between major coastal and port cities in the Baltic region, including Helsinki, Turku, Tallinn, Stockholm andTravemünde, play a significant role in the local tourism industry. Finland is regarded as the home of Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, living in the northern Lapland region. Above the Arctic Circle, in midwinter, there is a polar night, a period when the sun does not rise for days or weeks, or even months, and correspondingly, midnight sun in the summer, with no sunset even at midnight. Lapland is so far north that the Aurora Borealis, fluorescence in the high atmosphere due to solar wind, is seen regularly in the fall, winter and spring.
Outdoor activities range from Nordic skiing, golf, fishing, yachting, lake cruises, hiking, kayaking among many others. At Finland’s northernmost point, in the heart of summer, the Sun does not completely set for 73 consecutive days. Wildlife is abundant in Finland. Bird-watching is popular for those fond of avifauna, however hunting is also popular. Elk and hare are common game in Finland. Olavinlinna in Savonlinna hosts the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival.
- The Danish Islands
Though not well known to casual visitors Denmark is an island nation, with 72 inhabited islands and a further 371 uninhabited ones. Apart from the well-known blockbuster Bornholm, with its rich history, mystic round churches and links to the Knights Templar, many of the small islands are rarely visited by tourists, even though they make up for some of the country’s most intriguing destinations.
- Viking heritage
Much has happened since the Danes were wreaking havoc to much of Northern Europe, but the more peaceful modern version of the Danes still take immense pride in their Viking heritage. The most visual heritage is the burial mounds dotting the landscape everywhere in the country (actually, most of these are from the earlier Bronze Age period), but there are a few attractions for the inclined to visit. d.
- World Heritage Sites
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. There are many fine castles and palaces throughout the country, like Hamlet’s Kronborg.
Mainland Denmark has 3 world heritage sites; The Jelling rune stones date back to 900’s have been called “Denmark’s Birth Certificate”, testaments to Denmark’s convearsion the Christianity around that time, it was erected by what is considered the first official king of Denmark, Gorm The Old, whose son is buried in another of the sights, RoskildeCathedral, the first Gothic church in Northern Europe built of brick, and the final resting place for most Danish kings and queens ever since. The third, and possibly most famous, is Kronborg castle in Elsinore, home of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, prince of Denmark, but also an impressive castle in its own right, guarding the main route to the Baltic sea.
- Danish Design and Architecture
Denmark is renowned for its design heritage made famous by well-known designers, architects and companies as such. It is often described as minimalistic and functionalistic in its approach and includes names such as Jørn Utzon, Arne Jakobsen, Hans Wegner, Poul Henningsen, Georg Jensen, Bang&Olufsen, Royal Copenhagen, and many more.